One result of Aidan's birthday party last weekend was that I learned about cool toys that I didn't even know existed. Aidan got lots of superhero, building and outside toys, as well as some games I didn't know about. He also got a space station from Fisher Price's Imaginext line. I hadn't seen any of those before, but it's really neat, and it came with a DVD that tells a little story about the place.
Well, Nona got a ToysRUs gift card, so we went, armed, yesterday to find some toy in existence that he didn't already have. Quite a challenge! We found the section with Imaginext, and heavens! What a find! There are sets that have to do with a pirate ship, the jungle, the Batcave, and a castle with knights. After much deliberation, we came home with a fabulous castle, a big dragon, and a griffin. I'm really excited about these playsets, as is Aidan; took us at least 1/2 hour to choose. Seems fun that there are inexpensive accessories that can go with all of the sets, too. So, we're now a house full of knights, armor, dragons. It's a magical place in my living room, even more than ususal.
Regarding birthdays, I have mixed feelings about a party such as we did at Magic Mountain. I grew up with parties at home, often outside (September birthday), but in our little house in the wintertime, a party at home for more than one or two kids is difficult at best. Magic Mountain seemed like the perfect solution - they even had a Spiderman-themed party, and Spiderman ("my hero") is a trump card sure to make any venture a success. However, when we got there, the "room" we'd rented was actually one row of a larger room that was very crowded. There was hardly room for parents to help their toddlers eat lunch. They were also very much a "turn and burn" operation, where we were informed even before the start of our party that we had less than an hour to vacate our "room." That said, the kids all seemed to have a great time, and they did a decent job of assisting with passing out food, making wrapping paper disappear and such. As a hostess, I was a little harried and frazzled throughout, but I kept thinking, "thank heaven this isn't happening in my house." We're hoping to have a bigger house by Aidan's fourth birthday, in which case I'll likely be braver and do a "normal" party at home. Or maybe I'll find a place that's a little less crazy to have it.